The flooding devastation due to Hurricane Harvey is absolutely heartbreaking. As we continue to pray for everyone affected, here are a few things that homeowners can do to begin the process of cleaning up a home.
First I need to note that I am NOT an expert in remediation, but these are processes that I researched. I realize that most of my readership is located in the southeastern part of the country, but we are all connected to this tragedy. If you know someone who could benefit from these tips, please share! And if you are starting the process of recovering your home, be sure to take photos and contact your insurance company before proceeding with any clean up.
Removing Mud & Disinfecting surfaces
Shovel out as much mud as possible, and then use a hose to clear off as much residue as possible from all surfaces. Use a 1:4 ratio of bleach and water to scrub down everywhere that you can. Let this air dry with all windows open in the home.
Cleaning up the Floors and Walls
Any vinyl products that have been applied to a subfloor should be removed as soon as possible to allow the wood beneath to dry. If carpeting has been under water for more than 24 hours, it should be discarded. For rugs that were wet but not submerged for long, take them outside to air dry, and spot clean any dark spots with a disinfecting cleaner. For carpet that cannot be removed, use a wet/dry vacuum to dry the carpet as soon as possible. Use fans and air conditioning to make the air in your home as dry as possible to facilitate the drying process. For wood floors, do not try to dry quickly, as this may cause buckling or
how to save Kitchen Items
Glass, porcelain, china, plastic dinnerware and enamelware can be disinfected by immersing in a solution of 2 tablespoons of bleach + 1 gallon of hot water. Allow them to soak for at least ten minutes before air drying. Any metal utensils or pots and pans can be boiled to disinfect. Using the same bleach solution, wipe down to disinfect. Any visual damage can be brightened using baking soda & vinegar to make a paste. Use that paste to scrub any dark areas.
What to do with Furniture
In general, it usually costs more to restore furniture than it does to replace it these days. Of course, if you have heirloom pieces that you would like to attempt to save, your best bet is to take the outside and expose them to sun and air for as much as possible. Wood veneer pieces are almost impossible to repair, but solid wood pieces may be able to be helped if the damage is not severe. Upholstered pieces that may have been exposed to sewage waste should be taken to a professional. If you see any mold or mildew, do not try to remove it yourself as you could become sick.
What Can We Do to Help?
Of course, prayer is the thing we can constantly be doing but we can also donate money and supplies! One source that I would recommend is the JJWatt Foundation. This Houston Texan is committed to giving back year round, not just in tragedy, and his team is doing amazing work on the ground in Texas.
Also, the Mayor of Houston has raised almost 30 million dollars through the Greater Houston Community Foundation. There are also links there to donate supplies if you prefer that over money.
This is another great list of things to keep in mind when going through the process of reclaiming your home.
Lastly, my designer friend Veronica Solomon is in Houston. Her home was spared but she is now giving back to a family that lost everything in flooding. Would you help her by donating here?
If you know of any other great opportunities to help, please comment below and let me know! I will update this post to share.
Creative spirit living & loving in Raleigh, NC.